|Aleksa Jugovic made a big statement on Monday night as Serbia recorded a thumping victory over Russia|
Serbia may have only slipped into the Second Round of the U18 European Championship in Latvia, but looked like a reinvented team in an impressive 102-57 rout of Russia on Monday.
The Serbians came into the tournament undermanned and won just a single First Round encounter against Slovenia, but toyed with Russia on both ends of the court in an impressive display that demonstrated just what this team is capable of.
Serbia received balanced contributions from every member of its backcourt and their big men protected the ring and converted opportunities inside. Russia did just the opposite.
Incapable of producing any type of offence outside of their dynamic backcourt pairing of Viacheslav Fedorchenko and Alexander Martynov, Russia's hopes started fading right around the time the duo's shot stopped falling in the second quarter.
26 of Serbia's 39 first-half points came in the paint and another 10 from the free throw line. The 14-point halftime differential reflected the mood - while an energised Serbia raced through lay-up lines, a despondent Russia stood around launching half-hearted jump shots.
It got worse for Russia after the main break- Serbia blew the lead out to 47 points and a frustrated head coach Alexandr Afanasyev received a technical foul on the bench.
Aleksa Jugovic led Serbia with 21 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Milenko Veljkovic added 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Russia received a team-high 14 points from Fedorchenko.